You won’t see it on the price tag. The true cost of something is your freedom – how much time and freedom you must surrender to work in order to pay for the thing.
For example, I buy a thing for $10k. That’s either cash from my bank account or debt that I must work to pay off. Either way, that $10k (plus interest) isn’t available anymore to work for me to reduce the number of years I must work.
J. David Stein discussed this idea in his podcast, “Money For The Rest Of Us”. The episode is #5 entitled, “The True Cost of a Thing”.
It’s a fascinating concept, but it extends beyond finance.
We often buy into ideas that have much more severe costs than our financial freedom. The most critical area in which we must be hyper vigilant about what ideas we buy into is our faith. A well-meaning person can stumble into lots of dangerous ideas that tickle his ears. (2 Timothy 4:3).
I wrote recently about Bill Johnson, the very popular, yet deceptive pastor of Bethel Church in Redding Springs, California. I’m not sure if he’s purposefully deceptive or just deceived himself, yet nonetheless, he’s a dangerous man. I’ve watched several videos and read many articles and he has a charismatic and endearing personality. But if you listen to him long enough, you’re head will spin. For instance, Johnson teaches that it’s God’s will for all people to be healed (yet he wears corrective lenses). To paraphrase, he said that God isn’t sick so He can’t give what He doesn’t have. All of the quotes and articles are in my previous blog post.
A quick summary of Johnson’s other teachings:
- The Bible isn’t enough. We also need signs and wonders.
- Jesus had to be born again.
- Jesus gave up His divinity while on earth and performed all of His miracles as a man, not as God.
- He said that he refuses to create a theology that allows for sickness.
- When miracles are absent, so is the glory of God.
Johnson’s teachings aren’t biblical and people following him are not believing in a correct view of Jesus. That’s the danger. Getting Jesus wrong leads to getting salvation wrong. And Jesus knew it would happen. He addressed the issue in Matthew 7. In verse 15 He said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”
The consequence of being mislead by a false teacher leads to Jesus’s shocking statement in verses 21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
This is a terrifying truth.
People who sincerely believe they are saved because they worship Jesus aren’t saved at all because they worship the wrong Jesus. That’s the point. That’s the deception.
Many people blatantly don’t believe in Jesus. Some follow other gods. Some deny all gods. Other people may believe there’s a God (so does the devil) and because they are “good” people, they don’t see a need for repentance, salvation, church and all the other Christian beliefs. Many got sprinkled as babies and think they’re all set. All of the people who fall into these categories make a decision to not follow Jesus and those choices are met with a sad consequence.
But the people who believe Johnson and his kind are sincere seekers of Truth, but their faith is being derailed by well-crafted arguments that itch their ears. (Colossians 2:4 and 2 Timothy 4:3).
They believe they’re buying solid biblical food, but Bill Johnson is selling snake oil that can cost them salvation.
Next time I’ll discuss deeper another dangerous idea Johnson is pushing.